From the Heart of Catatonia

It’s a desolate vision… It always is with me. I don’t know if it’s all the drugs, my innate nature, or my self destructive inclination, but, in the end, I always choose what utterly destroys me. I’m on so many prescription medications that recreational drug usage would now simply be redundant. Even in my medicated state, I have this unbearable feeling, this sort of void where my heart is, and it feels numb and aches in my chest and squeezes and spasms. So it gets kind of bad, the chest pain, and I panic… I take twenty something Xanax and chase it with a fifth of Vodka and stagger around my home in the dark shouting at imaginary intruders.

Everyone who has ever known me gets to know some reflection, some representative of me, some fabrication designed for their specific needs, an image of what I’ve discerned they”ll love. I’m good at this, this reading of people’s desires and fears. It is my greatest gift.

I always choose what I know will bring me pain. My conscious mind recoils, retreats into fantasy, lies, and becomes distant. It has been speculated that I love this sort of misery; however, I don’t love it when I’ve been trying to sleep for four or five hours.

The question is always the same: why? Why would I knowingly alienate people I love, girls whom I’m very much in love with? Why would I warp them and destroy them and put them against each other? In my last relationship, the girls became tangled together and the masks of my different selves became harder and harder to manage. This most recent mania-it’s lasted since the last day of November-has been the most difficult to bear, since I’m on my own.

Before then, I was working at a cushy sort of job and worked only two days a week and also made a good bit of money writing freelance, essays for college students, self publications, etc, just sitting around, drawing, working on a website, making good money. When I went home I had a fiance whom I adored. When my fiance was asleep when I came in-she knew I had trouble sleeping-so I drove around most nights, and she was never surprised to find me coming or going at any time of the night.

My fiance (Rebecca) was pregnant at the time, 6 or 7 months I believe, and we had been fighting. This other girl was already a good friend to begin with-someone with whom I shared many common pleasures-with whom I had a somewhat stronger connection than my fiance. I started hanging out with her more at night, riding around dim dirt roads and smoking pot and doing a lot of talking.

She (Sammantha) was in a similar condition: tied down by a situation she believed she had no way out of. She was seeing someone she no longer loved and I saw inside of her… and when I looked inside her, I could see exactly what type of man she wanted. I knew the nuances and the subtleties of the character she was looking for. So I put that costume on. When I left at night, I put on that costume, that Scarlet letter, and spent those nights with a person who was more than a friend, but less than a mistress at the time. Then it happened. I got into a fight with my fiance, because I was going to a concert with Sammantha, the other girl, and hadn’t asked Rebecca to go.

She accused me of fucking Sammantha, saying, “You’re obviously not fucking me!” She said this in front of my family, in front of my brother and his girlfriend. I grabbed her by the arms and shouted at her, telling her to shut the fuck up, and threw her onto the couch. She hit me three times from behind and then in the face. My brother got in between us before I hit her, because she was pregnant and I had already threw her on the couch in anger. This is bad enough. I make no excuses for my actions. It was wrong and short sighted.

Kyle (my brother) dragged me into my room and I take my Buddha box (a small, ornate box a friend got me for a birthday once) and dump out a bunch of Xanax’s in my hand, swallow them, and leave without speaking to Rebecca. I might have taken twelve-thirteen 2mg tablets. About halfway to the concert my panic and anger begins to subside and is replaced by a calm, malevolent cockiness. That’s when I put on that costume in front of Sammantha for the first time, the costume of the type of man she wanted.

I found out all the information I could, digested it, and set about how to use this information to my advantage. That was the first night Sammantha and I fucked. I came home at 4am, slammed off my ass, and Rebecca was sitting in the recliner in the living room waiting on me. How was the show? Did you have a fun time? I’m sorry for hitting you. You just make me so crazy sometimes Brandon, but I love you… You know that, don’t you? And I could see it in her eyes; she did, wholly, completely, and without condition: had I told her what I had done, she would’ve forgiven me, and eventually, she did when I told her.

I had begun to deceive Sammantha and had a romantic relationship with her, telling her Rebecca and I had dissolved our relationship but she still lived with me because she was pregnant with my child. To Rebecca, Sammantha and I were nothing but friends, but, by then, and after my son was born, Sammantha was a mistress I was in love with, my muse, and Rebecca was the mother of my child, who I also loved, infinitely, painfully; I loved them both, building elaborate trappings for my private lives to never overlap… until I made my first mistake.

The mistake was taking a picture of me and Rebecca on my cellphone. Cycling through my pictures with Sammantha later; she came across a photo of image taken from behind in silk nighty. It wasn’t very sexual, but the shock that overcome her when she saw it was very profound. I felt it, saw it in her eyes; I have this sense of empathy with people… when I get to know them, you see, I get to know how they will react, how to cause reactions, and what to do to get the reactions that I want. I told Sammantha that the picture was nothing, and even took the offensive: I told her that she (Rebecca) just wanted to know what her new negligee looked like from behind and asked me to take the picture. Sammantha didn’t believe me, but we continued our relationship.

Then there was the second strike: one of Sammantha friends blabbed to a mutual friend that Rebecca had said of her, mockingly, “If he cares about her, why is he still fucking me?” That was the second strike to get back to Sammantha. I turned it into a final offensive, attempting to shrug off both of the charges and told Sammantha that I was doing everything I could to get rid of Rebecca and that I wanted to anger her until she left of her own volition so I wouldn’t look like a bad man in putting out a woman with child. Our relationship continued. I had to leave unexpectedly one night, to pick up some pills I think, and I left without locking my computer, and I left it the message to Sammantha open, not thinking about it.

When I returned, I found Rebecca sitting in my chair, having just read the lengthy profession of love for Sammantha and disdain for her, after believing the entire time that Sammantha had remained a friend and that I loved her. I did: but it got to the point that no matter what I did, one of them would suffer. For a moment, Sammantha was very fond of me. And Rebecca too, the mother of my child, the only woman to ever officially agree to marry me. I knew she would be hurt. The pregnancy and arguments and baggage in the end led me to choose Sammantha, the mistress with whom I had fallen in love. I told Rebecca the night of our two year anniversary that I was going to end our relationship and date Sammantha. Rebecca was broken; she left walking in the dark, crying and shouting at me as I followed. I told her that I loved her, but I just didn’t want either of them to hurt. It was sad that I chose to hurt the one who had been there for me the most, the girl I asked to marry me, the mother of my son. Our relationship was over and I was secretly devastated. Being around Sammantha no longer made me happy, because to be with her I had to hurt someone I loved. So I told Rebecca, I love you and I want to be with you, but I don’t want to hurt Sammantha; I want to do something to drive her away, something that will make her dump me. But she wouldn’t.

No matter what rumors she heard, no matter what I did, she wouldn’t leave me. Rebecca got tired of staying at home all night while I was out, so she started seeing someone else, someone from work. I was devastated again but had to act like I didn’t care, since Rebecca and I didn’t date. We kept on fucking though, throughout the whole time period, even after Rebecca began to see this guy officially. Sammantha and I stayed together, but every night when I after work I came home to Rebecca, as Brandon, not the costumed impostor I was with Sammantha, and I told her that if she would leave her boyfriend, I would leave Sammantha, so she and I could be together again. I asked her to give me one week.

On the fifth day, I left my cellphone in Sammantha’s car. On it contained a message I sent to Rebecca that said, “Suck my dick.” Rebecca hadn’t responded, but messaged me to say she had bought a movie (House on Haunted Hill) to which, I, in fact, replied, Suck my dick. Rebecca didn’t respond, but came in that evening and slept in front of me, in my arms, after falling asleep halfway through the movie. She was asleep and I was at my desk, smoking a cigarette, when Rebecca’s phone rang. It was Sammantha, saying that she had my phone. She brought it back to me and we kissed and it seemed as though everything was fine. I knew what was on my phone, and what the possibilities were, but there was nothing that directly implicated me in anything; if it was called into question, I already had several defenses: sure I told her to suck my dick, but it wasn’t romantic; it was unprovoked, and Rebecca never responded… not while I had the phone.

It was the third strike and, a week later, after I hadn’t been able to contact Sammantha, I was deleted from her MySpace and found out she was dating my friend’s brother. I sent her a message, one last elaborate and desperate attempt, but it fell on fed up ears; the costume had been torn off, and so had the mask, and what was under it was a deceiver, a liar, and a manipulator. Rebecca told me we were going to get back together and, one night in particular she was supposedly going to end her relationship so we could get back together. In fact, I even had an ace in the hole; I had secretly filmed Rebecca and I having sex, afterward she even admitted she was dump her boyfriend: her face, up close and personal, telling me she didn’t love him, and that she wanted me, filmed with the intention of ruining her new relationship if she spurned me. It was all on tape. She still didn’t break up with him but was still saying with me, sleeping on the couch.

Then I decided to tell her about the tape, the blackmail, the trump card. I showed it to her on the camera, without her knowing that I had copied it onto my computer, hidden the files in a legion of invisible folders with redirects, passwords and encryptions; I even had the file online. I showed it to her and she tried to snatch it from me. She got offensive, reprimanding me for blackmail. In the end, we agreed: I’d give up control of the SD card with the video on it to a third party until Rebecca had broken off her new relationship. I gave her three days to end the relationship. On the third day, she told me she did. I gave her the SD card and the camera and she deleted it. It didn’t matter. I had thousands of copies. My friends from around the world had copies. Still, she continued to see him.

I found out and was furious; I sent him a message telling him that me and Rebecca were still fucking and that I had proof. He didn’t respond. I assumed she went into denial, telling him it was a lie, that I was full of shit (which, of course, I am.) She continued to see him and was apparently happy, so I never sent the video. I’ve been alone since then. Sammantha and Rebecca are both happy, still, and I haven’t spoken to either of them in person in a long, long time.

I had them both, had a good job, and was relatively drug free (I was on medications for panic attacks / anxiety and insomnia, but I’ve been on that since I was young) and still, with two girls I loved, a beautiful son, it wasn’t sufficiently complicated for me. I gave myself obstacles to overcome, performed elaborate experiments, arranged scenes to test them out for books, all with both of these girls I was deeply loved. In my arrogance, I thought that I was playing with them but I realized, in the end, I was playing against myself. And when you play against yourself, as I do so often in chess, and the debates inside my head, you usually lose, and I lost; I lost them both to people to who made them happy, my job, and my mind. I was happy they were happy, regardless of whether they were with me or not. They are still with these people, and I’m still single. I miss them both; their friendship and company has been a terrible loss. If I could to speak to them, I’d say: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the mind games, the lies, and the manipulation. I hope you [both] have a happy life.

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